Mail readers have reacted angrily to the news that people dressed as so-called “killer clowns” have been chasing people with hammers in Hartlepool.
Officers searched Burn Valley Gardens following the reports of pranksters scaring people at around 9pm on Monday night.
Cleveland Police have received dozens of calls over the ‘absurd craze’ which has come to the UK from America including eight in Hartlepool.
But the force is urging people to think twice before calling them saying it is diverting valuable resources. It is also urging the pranksters not to do it in case the spooked public attack them in response.
Those commenting on the Mail’s Facebook page said they horrified at the reports.
San Howe wrote: “The police need to make an example of these idiots and wipe the makeup off them and name and shame them.”
Darius Alaric Oliver wrote: “I was wondering when it would reach here.”
Allan McPhail said: “Halloween is on the way. Lighten up and stop trying to control.”
Natalie Cummings wrote: “Have they killed anyone? No. So they are not killer clowns. Stop scaring everyone.”
Christopher Hall wrote: “People should stop running away from them. They’re not actually going to hurt you. Or are they?”
A Cleveland Police spokesperson said: “In common with many other UK forces, we are receiving reports of people dressed as clowns in public places.
“It appears that the more foolish members of our communities have latched onto this absurd craze and are taking part. “Police resources are being diverted from those in genuine need of our assistance and we would remind the public to consider carefully whether a police response is actually required.
Between October 4 and 9, the force says there have been 44 clown incidents including six in Hartlepool.
Another 18 sightings were reported on Monday, including two in Hartlepool.
A police community support officer attended St Hild’s Schoolearlier this week after an online threat by someone dressed as a clown to attend.
Most of the local sightings have been reported on a night with the peak time between 8pm and 10pm.